At Vyking Ship, we are pleased to be able to offer our own Purchasing Assistance Program. The concept is simple: we make merchandise purchases for you when you’re unable to do so yourself.
This type of service has a lot of different names, including: Concierge, Personal Shopper, Daigou, Uncle, or Big Brother. Many of you will never find the need for us to make purchases on your behalf, but here is a list of reasons why you, or others, may find this service necessary:
- If a merchant will not accept your available payment method. For example, a merchant may only accept credit cards or only certain types of credit cards, but you only have a PayPal account.
- If a merchant will not accept international credit cards or international PayPal accounts. Unless you have opened a credit card account within the U.S. or setup a PayPal account to a US address, this will stop you.
- If a merchant will not accept transactions from anyone with a non-US IP address. These merchants will decline all transactions where your IP address is not from within the US.
- If a merchant has an IP or Shipping Address filter. These merchants may accept international payment methods but will cancel all transactions when the IP location does not match the shipping address.
- If a merchant does not ship to International Package Forwarding companies. This is happening much more, unfortunately. Many online sellers have gotten burned when they had an item purchased fraudulently and mailed it to an international package forwarder only to be unable to get the item back. As more and more forwarding companies pop up, and many of them are not doing a good job of policing fraud, there are more and more merchants becoming aware of forwarding companies and deciding to avoid the potential threat by canceling all orders going to a forwarding company. Our service by-passes this hurdle in that when we make a purchase for you, we can always have it mailed to one of our employee’s homes.
- If a merchant’s website required you to establish an account with a U.S. phone number or other requirement that you do not have. This not as common, but some merchants may require some information that you don’t have or can’t get. In many of these cases, we are able to provide that information when we are making the purchase.
- If a merchant will only does business with other businesses. This is also not something most people will run into, but sometimes B2B companies may have something you really want. In those cases we can make the purchase for you by providing our company details.
One of the most important aspects of a purchasing program is the pricing. We have matched the low 5 percent fee that nearly all industry leaders charge. This fee is calculated as 5 percent of the entire purchase price including the items, shipping and handling, taxes, and any other fees that the merchant might charge. Almost all of this fee goes directly to PayPal as they charge us a fee for all incoming payments.
The Benefits of Using Vyking Ship
We are not only a purchasing assistant, but also an international package forwarder. This means that we can make your purchases, process them, and ship them to you all from the same site. We do not outsource any of the processes along the way so we are able to quickly and effectively make any changes or fix any issues that come up. There is still only one email address you would need to contact (email@example.com) with any problems or questions, so there is no back and forth between departments or companies to get things done.
There are many personal shopper services out there that are operated by an individual that is not even in the USA. They outsource all of the shipping to USA forwarders and, although they may have a good relationship with the forwarder, there will always be a communications gap that can cause delays or mix-ups. Having everything under one roof prevents these communications problems.
We do have some purchasing limitations to this service. These limits are as follows:
- We will not make any purchases that are prohibited from being shipped by USPS or FedEx internationally.
- We will not make purchases of items that your country prohibits from importation.
- We will not make purchases from websites that lack secure payment pages.
- We will not make purchases that require recurring billing. These are typically subscription based services and products.
- We are unable to purchase pre-paid credit or debit cards, gift cards or any other “money purchases”.
- We will not make purchases of perishable items or those that have an extremely time sensitive expiration.
- We will not place bids on auction sites but we can make “Buy It Now” purchases. For sites other than eBay where registration is required, please allow time for us to establish an account.
- We do require that all purchases are of at least $10 USD before our 5 percent fee is added in.
We also reserve the right to decline to make any purchases that we feel will be problematic for some reason not listed here.
Acceptable Payment Sources
We currently only accept Verified PayPal and Bank Wire Transfers.
Purchase Amount Limitations
For established customers (those who have shipped at least 3 packages AND been an account holder for at least 3 months)
- Verified PayPal – Starting monthly limit $500 USD.
- Bank Wire – $9,950 USD starting monthly limit.
For new customers (those who have shipped 2 or less packages or have been an account holder for less than 3 months)
- Verified PayPal – Starting monthly limit $300 USD.
- Bank Wire – $7,500 USD starting monthly limit.
If you have any questions about our service, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you.
If you do not wish to use our Purchasing services, we do have some alternatives we would like to suggest:
- Virtual Cards. These are typically Pre-Paid Debit Cards that may be loaded and re-loaded by various means. A good list of some Virtual Cards can be found at the Tech-Vise site’s page: Best Virtual Prepaid Debit Cards for International Shoppers. The information I saw on the site conformed well with my own research into these cards. Make sure to know what fees the company will charge and what methods they allow for reloading the card.
- Gift Cards (credit card company). The major credit card companies produce their own Gift Cards that are treated much like a debit card. You purchase a certain amount of value and then can use that card wherever it is accepted (ie VISA, Mastercard, Discover, AmEx, etc) for up to the total value loaded. Most have a reload feature but do require to you to load it with cash in a store. Many of these cards are not available outside of the US, but you may be able to find someone selling them online or you may have a friend or family member inside the US that can help you get them.
- Gift Cards (store specific). Just about ever major retailer sells their own gift cards usable at their store only. For stores that will not accept your International Credit Card, or if you don’t have a credit card, these can be a great option. Check eBay for people selling their un-used or partially used gift cards. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if there is a small amount left on your gift card, the retailer is not going to return you the balance. It is very easy to be stuck with a mostly used gift card that has a balance of a few dollars, plan accordingly.